Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his first state of the state address, Jan. 5, plans to merge New York's insurance and banking departments with the state's Consumer Protection Board.
Cuomo said the merger would improve regulation of financial services organizations and provide better protection for consumers from predatory lending and unlawful foreclosure practices. He also issued an executive order creating a commission to reduce the number of state agencies, authorities and commissions by 20 percent to make state government more efficient and accountable.
Insurance trade reacts
The New York Insurance Association said it hoped the efforts to reduce state spending would lower government assessments on insurance companies.
"Since the insurance and banking departments are funded by the respective industries these entities regulate, we look forward to a reduction in the assessments levied on New York businesses," said New York Insurance Association President Ellen Melchionni in a statement.
The association sued the state last year, claiming the state illegally used assessments paid by insurance companies to fund programs that are not part of the Insurance Department's operations. The suit is pending in New York Supreme Court.